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Tribal art > African Reliquary > Kota Reliquary
Figure of reliquary Kota Mbulu Ngulu (N° 19523)
Rare stylistic variant of Kota art: metal plates are stapled on a wooden core with a face on top. Image inspired by visions, the geometrical head is crossed by a ridge forming the nose, punctuated by upholstery nails, whose copper color contrasts with the gilded metal.
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Baskets containing the relics of illustrious ancestors, usually surmounted by two reliquaries, were kept in temples in the village. One embodied the founder of the lineage, and the second embodied his descendants.
The cult of ancestors, the bwete (North Kota) was at the heart of the social and religious life of the Kota and presents many analogies with that of the Fang . In the exclusive presence of initiates, the major decisions of the clan were made during ceremonies in which reliquaries were taken out and used. In order to reactivate the magical charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand. Among the Kota , these figures have reached an astounding degree of stylization and abstraction.
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